Gay Marriage

Confirmation Of Justice Amy Coney Barrett Creates The Most Extreme Supreme Court Since 1930s!

The confirmation last evening of new Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett creates the most extreme Supreme Court since the time of the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s Great Depression, just as we are entering into the Second Great Depression.

The right wing narrow minded view of Justice Barrett is perceived as more so than even her mentor, former Justice Antonin Scalia.

The fifth woman to serve on the Court, she is the anti Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a great woman who we could only wish had been able to live two to three more weeks, preventing an appointment before the election.

And had she lived until December, even a lame duck President could not have replaced her before January and a new President.

This only accelerates the dire need for everyone to vote, and for the Republicans to be resoundingly defeated next week for the White House and the US Senate, and add seats in the House of Representatives.

With a 6-3 extremist Court, the following areas of law are greatly endangered:

Civil Rights and Civil Liberties in general
Women’s Rights
Abortion Rights
Gay Rights and Gay Marriage
Labor Rights
Voting Rights
Environmental Reforms
Consumer Reforms
Business Regulations
Separation of Church and State
Firearms Regulation

The answer must be to expand the Supreme Court to 11 members, adding two progressives or liberal voices to the Court, making for a slight 6-5 conservative majority, but promoting the concept that Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch will, at times, side with the liberals.

It does not guarantee progressive and liberal ideas, but that has been that way for a generation, but once either Clarence Thomas (age 72) or Samuel Alito (age 70) leaves the Court, likely in the next four years, a moderate Court will be achieved. And if Stephen Breyer or Sonia Sotomayor were to leave, it would insure a Democratic President choosing their successors.

Voting for Joe Biden and a Democratic Senate insures that the right wing tilt of the Court will be short lived!

The Corruption Of The Supreme Court, With Five Appointees By Presidents Who Lost The Popular Vote!

With the likelihood that Amy Coney Barrett will be successfully confirmed to be the replacement of Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg on the Supreme Court, we are about to have a Court with five appointees by Presidents who lost the national popular vote, but still won the Electoral College.

George W. Bush lost the national popular vote to Vice President Al Gore in 2000 by a 540,000 margin, but was able to select Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito in 2005 and 2006.

And now Donald Trump, who lost the national popular vote to Hillary Clinton in 2016, by a 2.85 million margin, has been able to select Associate Justices Neil Gorsuch in 2017, Brett Kavanaugh in 2018, and now Amy Comey Barrett in 2020.

And even more infuriating is that three of these five appointees helped the George W. Bush campaign in the Bush V Gore Supreme Court case, assisting him winning the case in a majority Republican selected Court in December 2000–specifically, John Roberts, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Comey Barrett!

And the right wing Federalist Society, which has been on a 40 year campaign to make the federal court system move to the extreme right on such issues as health care, abortion, gay marriage, gun rights, so called freedom of religion, deregulation of the economy and the environment, suppression of voting rights and labor rights, has fully succeeded in its campaign to undermine American democracy and a sense of humanity!

So when one complains from the right side of the political spectrum at the “horror” of Democrats “packing the Court” if they were to add seats to the Supreme Court, one has to say the level of hypocrisy is enormous, when that has been the commitment for four decades of the Right in American politics.

And who can say that if the Republicans were to win control of both houses of Congress and the Presidency, that they would not be willing to promote “packing of the Court’, so that they could add two to four more seats to the Supreme Court, and make the Court not just the 6-3 margin it will now be, but possibly 8-3 or 10-3, if two to four seats were to be added!

And one more point: Two of the six member Republican majority have had sexual misconduct hanging over their heads, although it has not affected their tenure on the Court, speaking specifically of Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh. So the ethical and moral standing of the Court has been damaged irrevocably!

But do the conservatives and the Federalist Society care about this? Not one iota!

The 2010s: 15 Major Events Which Had An Impact

We are ending a decade in nine days from today, although technically a decade begins with a “1”, not a zero, but to most people, the fact that the number changes from “1” to “2” as the first digit, marks it as a new decade.

So looking back ten years, what are the major events in public affairs that have had an impact?

In no special order, here are the most significant events of the past decade:

The “Arab Spring”, which led to turmoil in the Middle East, and led to civil war and massive bloodshed in the area, but ultimately being overcome by authoritarian leaders and conditions of anarchy and chaos.

The passage of the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), accomplished in the second year of the Obama Presidency.

The death of Al Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, after avoiding capture for nearly ten years.

The election of Pope Francis by the Catholic Church, having a massive impact on Catholic doctrine, and liberalizing the church’s doctrines and teachings.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea, leading to sanctions against Russia by the US and many European nations, and leading to Vladimir Putin working to undermine western democracies for the remainder of the decade.

The rise of the terrorist group ISIS (ISIL), which controlled large portions of Iraq and Syria, and engaged in massive abuses and tortures and executions, eventually mostly overcome by efforts of European nations and the United States.

The candidacy and election of Donald Trump to the Presidency, despite his divisive rhetoric and elements of nativism, racism, and misogyny.

Gay Marriage decision of the Supreme Court, a revolutionary change in American society.

Restoration of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba, after five and a half decades of total isolation.

The massive tragedies of gun violence in schools, theaters, churches, synagogues, nightclubs, open air concerts, shopping malls and supermarkets, with no attempt to address the issue due to the power of the National Rifle Association over Congress and President Donald Trump.

Russian intervention in the Presidential Election of 2016, helping to secure the victory of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in the Electoral College, while losing the popular vote by 2.85 million votes, largest loss of popular vote of an Electoral College winner in American history.

The effects of the “Me Too” movement of women exposing sexual harassment against prominent public figures, causing many to lose their careers and reputations.

The horrendous policy of separating migrant children from their families at the southern border with Mexico and Central America, causing great condemnation of the Trump Administration.

The Robert Mueller investigation of the Trump Presidential campaign, and the Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections of 2018, leading to the impeachment of Donald Trump after exposure of the Ukraine Scandal.

The growing reality of climate change and global warming, with the US under Donald Trump refusing to keep the Paris Accord of 2015 on goals for lowering of carbon emissions.

A “Dream List” To Elect: Beto O’Rourke, Andrew Gillum, Stacey Abrams, Richard Cordray, Gavin Newsom

As we near the Midterm Elections of 2018 on Tuesday, this blogger and author has a “dream list” that he would wish and hope would be elected to office.

One is competing for the US Senate–Congressman Beto O’Rourke of Texas, trying to defeat Senator Ted Cruz. O’Rourke has become a true “rock star”, often compared in face and charisma to Robert F. Kennedy, who he is not related to, but O’Rourke has inspired many people, and has a following, particularly, among millennials. Many see him as a future Presidential contender, whether he wins or loses next week, and some see him as a contender for 2020, absolutely amazing.

Four others are competing for governors of their states.

Andrew Gillum and Stacey Abrams are both African Americans, inspiring many people of all age groups, as they compete to become Governors of Florida and Georgia, and if they both win, it will be truly historic. Both are well spoken and charismatic, and Gillum reminds many of Barack Obama. Gillum has been Mayor of Tallahassee, the state capitol, and Abrams has been the Democratic minority leader in the Georgia House of Representatives from 2011-2017.

Richard Cordray is running for Ohio Governor, and was the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under Barack Obama, and a five time “Jeopardy’ winner, and would really be a plus for Ohio’s future if he was elected. He was also Attorney General, Treasurer, and Solicitor General of Ohio over a long storied career, and some see him as a future potential Presidential contender.

Gavin Newsom is assured of victory for California Governor, and as San Francisco Mayor, was the first public official to marry gay couples in 2004, and has served as Lieutenant Governor for the past eight years. He drips with charisma, and is also seen as a potential future Presidential contender.

It Is Time For Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, And Red State Democrats To Put Nation Ahead Of Their Own Senate Seats

It is perfectly understood that all people who work like to keep their jobs and earn their income.

But there is no member of the US Senate that is “desperate” and “needy” to keep their jobs.

What is needed now is, as John F. Kennedy wrote, “Profiles in Courage”.

Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, so called “moderate” Republicans, need to stand up and say, “NO WAY”, would they support Brett Kavanaugh to fill the available seat on the Supreme Court, since he clearly has a record of being anti abortion, and both women Senators claim they are pro choice, so they must refuse to support him.

It is clear that Brett Kavanaugh has committed perjury a number of times in earlier hearings before the Senate while under oath, and he should not be promoted to the Supreme Court, with his record of pursuing Bill Clinton with Ken Starr 20 years ago; his advocacy of torture in the Iraq War; his promotion of an anti gay marriage amendment under George W. Bush; and his unwillingness to say he would recuse himself from any case involving Trump and the scandals that have erupted in the past two years.

But even if Collins and Murkowksi were to back off on Kavanaugh, the requirement also is for Red State Democrats, who are running for reelection, to vote against Kavanaugh in unison, even if it leads to their defeat, which seems unlikely in the present political climate.

So that means West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp, Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly, Montana Senator Jon Tester, and Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill MUST save the nation from a Right Wing extremist Supreme Court, even if they lose their seats, putting the nation ahead of their own ambitions.

The Record And Views Of Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Could Determine Constitutional Law To 2050!

Tomorrow, the contentious hearings on the nomination of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh will begin in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

These will be the most controversial set of hearings since 1987 and Robert Bork, and 1991, with Clarence Thomas.

On both of those occasions, the Democrats controlled the Senate, and Bork was rejected by a vote of 58-42, while Thomas was confirmed by a vote of 52-48.

The effect of Justice Clarence Thomas for the past 27 years has been profound, with many future potential Circuit Court or Supreme Court candidates having clerked for him.

Thomas has been trying to take us back to the Articles of Confederation in many ways, but also admiring Presidential power at the same time.

This is the danger of Brett Kavanaugh, that he would take America domestically back to the Gilded Age, wiping out the New Deal, Great Society, and everything Barack Obama changed.

He comes across on the surface as a pleasant, nice man, but it is all very misleading.

This is a man who worked for Ken Starr in the impeachment of Bill Clinton, and now Kavanaugh has changed his view of Presidential power 180 degrees.

This is a man who worked in the White House for George W. Bush, and helped to plan the idea of an anti gay marriage amendment, that was part of the campaign of Bush in 2004. And now, Donald Trump has used executive privilege to prevent 100,000 documents from Kavanaugh’s time in the Bush White House from being made available, which is another controversy now created, as why should the Senate be unable to examine all pertinent material about a nominee?

This is a man who worked to deny September 11 victims the ability to sue for damages, limiting unsuccessfully that intent.

This is a man who in his Circuit Court decisions has come out against abortion rights, against ObamaCare, against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, against labor union rights, and willing to support limitations on voting rights.

This is a man who might be able to vote on whether Donald Trump can be indicted or prosecuted, and should recuse himself on any such matters as a conflict of interest, but likely will not do so. Justice William Rehnquist, when new on the Court as an Associate Justice, recused himself from the US Vs. Richard Nixon case in 1974 (after which Richard Nixon resigned), because Rehnquist had worked in the Justice Department under Nixon. So that famous and significant case was 8-0, not 9-0 or 8-1, and at the least, a Justice Kavanaugh should recuse himself from any case involving possible legal action against Donald Trump.

Kavanaugh could affect future decisions on campaign finance, climate change, election gerrymandering, and travel bans, and regulation of guns.

He would also create a right wing conservative Court, unlike any since 85 years ago.

And being only 53, he could be on the Supreme Court until 2050, when he would reach 85 years of age.

This would be the most long range effect of Donald Trump, no matter how much longer he remains in the Presidency, along with the 26 and more Circuit Court confirmations already accomplished by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, along with Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

The Democrats’ only hope would be IF all 49 Democrats hold fast (highly unlikely); Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowksi (both pro choice on abortion) abandoning the party ties on this vote (highly unlikely); and the person who replaces John McCain in the Senate (maybe Cindy McCain) joining the two women Republican Senators in voting against Kavanaugh (highly unlikely).

The Tough Battle Ahead On Supreme Court Replacement For Justice Anthony Kennedy

The retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, a conservative but moderate on such issues as gay rights and gay marriage, abortion, affirmative action, flag burning, and the use of the death penalty, leaves the Senate in a tough battle for confirmation of whoever Donald Trump appoints as his replacement.

The fair thing to do would be to postpone the appointment and confirmation hearings until after the midterm elections of 2018, just as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell prevented hearings and a vote on Barack Obama’s choice of Merrick Garland to replace Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016, a Presidential election year. But it is clear McConnell has no such intentions to treat this situation in the same manner as he did two years ago.

So the question is whether there is any possibility of stopping a Trump appointment, and it seems pretty gloomy and very little chance to intervene and delay or prevent a confirmation of a new Supreme Court Justice.

With only 49 votes, the Democrats need one or two Republicans to join them in opposition, and for all Democrats, including more moderate and conservative members of the caucus, to stay loyal, even in an election year where 10 Senators who are running for reelection are from Trump carried states.

The saddest part of all this is that now we will have FOUR Supreme Court Justices–two by George W. Bush and two by Donald Trump–selected by Presidents who massively lost the popular vote in the elections in 2000 and 2016 when the Electoral College went to them.

Six of the last seven Presidential elections have seen the popular vote won by Democrats, all but 2004 since 1992, but the power over the future of the Supreme Court has been lost for the long term, for the next 30 years, beyond the theoretical lifetime of this author and blogger, and of many people who are 40 or over right now!

California Has Larger Economy Now Than The United Kingdom (Great Britain), Fifth Largest In World

As of last month, the state of California officially is the world’s fifth largest economy.

The Golden State just passed the United Kingdom (Great Britain), and is now only surpassed by four nations: The United States, China, Japan, and Germany.

Who would ever have thought when the US fought Mexico in the late 1840s, gained control of California in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, and saw the Gold Rush begin, starting the development of California population so rapidly, that California became a state by 1850, that this mega state would develop an economy larger than all but four nations?

California today has 40 million people, one out of every eight Americans, and has a technology sector in Silicon Valley, and is the world’s entertainment capital in Hollywood.

California is also the nation’s major agricultural sector in the Central Valley agricultural heartland.

It also has become a major positive in the economy after the collapse during the Great Recession. Financial services, real estate, manufacturing, and the information economy are all major pluses in the California economy.

Its economy is one seventh of the entire nation’s economy, and the job growth from 2012-2017 is one sixth of the entire improvement of the country.

The major areas of economic growth are in San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego.

Its Congressional delegation, by far the largest, consists of 53 House Members and 2 Senators, and a substantial number of them—16 in the House—play a major role in Congress.

The outgoing Governor, Jerry Brown, is seen by many as possibly the greatest Governor in the nation right now, having presided over the revival of the California economy in the past eight years.

California has also led the fight against Donald Trump on such issues as immigration and sanctuary cities; gay rights and gay marriage; and climate change and global warming.

And Nancy Pelosi. the former Speaker of the House from 2007-2011, and Minority Leader since then; and Kevin McCarthy, the House Majority Leader now angling to be the next Speaker of the House if the Republicans retain the majority, are both from California.

So California is, in so many ways, a nation onto itself, and could sustain itself if need be, but at the same time, the future could be three Californias, as the state initiative process has led to a possible ballot question in November, that would set up three states instead of one–Northern California; Southern California; and California, which would consist of the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

Each state would have about one third of the population of 40 million.

Whether this occurs or not, California will continue to be a major part of the world economy and the American political system.

Why Don’t Republicans Abandon Donald Trump, And Promote A “True Believer”, Mike Pence?

A growing question, in the midst of ever expanding Donald Trump corruption regarding Russian Collusion, Obstruction Of Justice, Violation of the Emoluments Clause, Stormy Daniels Scandal, and the Michael Cohen controversy, is why Republicans do NOT abandon Trump, and promote a “true believer”, Vice President Mike Pence.

For those of us are who progressives, the thought of a President Mike Pence is a horror, as Pence is clearly a man who promotes theocracy in a manner that is clearly dangerous.

This is a man who was losing, at least in polls, his original plan for reelection as Indiana Governor in 2016, when Donald Trump “rescued” his career, by selecting him as his Vice Presidentila running mate.

Pence had a record of being allied with the Tea Party Movement while a Congressman, that arose in the wake of the election of Barack Obama in 2008.

Pence had a record of promoting the tobacco industry, and denying that cigarette smoking caused lung cancer.

Pence had a record of advocating conversion therapy to undo the “sin” of being gay or lesbian, even though he has denied that, but it is fact that he was and is a vehement opponent of gay rights and gay marriage, and that he wears his evangelical Christianity on his sleeve.

Pence had a record of being a leading misogynist, vehemently opposing the right of a woman to choose in regards to abortion, and his wife Karen has had a strong influence on his thinking on this, and on issues involving women’s equality in other areas.

Pence has a very good relationship with Republican leaders and many conservatives, as well as right wing evangelical leaders, so it would seem logical that at some point, the pressure will be on for these groups to pressure Trump to resign.

An upcoming meeting of right wing evangelicals, scheduled for Tuesday June 19 with President Trump, could become the motivation to tell Donald Trump the gig is up, and that if he does not resign, that the move will be on to force him out.

That day will mark 23 days after the length of time of Zachary Taylor in the White House in 1849-1850 before his death, a total of 492 days. So on the 515th day of his Presidency, one might expect the pressure to grow on Trump, and to lead to his resignation shortly after, making him the fourth shortest term of any President in American history!

A total of 10 Presidents have served less than a full term, but seven of them had at least two years and five months, but the likelihood of Trump lasting two years to January 20, 2019, can now be seen as extremely unlikely. And to expect him to last five more months to June 20, 2019, and surpass the fourth shortest Presidency, that of Warren G. Harding from 1921-1923, is certainly a long shot!

Law Professors, Lawyers, And Donald Trump: A Time For Patriotism Over Sycophancy

In the midst of the national and international crisis of Donald Trump’s “love affair” with Vladimir Putin, we are seeing law professors and lawyers who are acting like sycophants, and in the process harming their reputations, at a time when patriotism should win out over sycophancy.

Law Professors, including Alan Dershowitz and Jonathan Turley are finding ways to justify Trump’s illegal, immoral, and unconstitutional behavior, while Laurence Tribe is adding to his reputation as a respectable and legitimate scholar.

Meanwhile, well known attorney Joseph diGenova is promoting conspiracy theories about the “Deep State” and is undermining the FBI and the intelligence agencies, while Theodore Olson is showing how dignified, decent and credible he has always been.

And these are just the best known law professors and attorneys, splitting and dividing, as we learn who the legitimate law professors and lawyers really are, in this greatest of all constitutional crises.

Dershowitz, a former professor at Harvard Law School, and a renowned attorney in the O J Simpson case and many others, has said that Special Counsel Robert Mueller should never have been appointed, and that a “witch hunt” is being conducted against Donald Trump, using the exact language of the President. Dershowitz sees no evidence of any crimes by Trump, but also does not see it as likely that Trump would fire Mueller, although last June, Trump came close to firing Mueller, a month into the investigation. This is crazy legal judgment, and makes one wonder what Dershowitz’s whole purpose is.

Turley is a professor of law at George Washington University, claims there is no evidence of collusion by Trump with Russia, and he agreees with the idea of a second Special Counsel to investigate the FBI, a mind boggling example of sycophancy by Turley, undermining the ability to investigate the illegal actions by Trump. Turley has become a favorite to be on Fox News Channel, and it undermines his whole career as a law professor.

Tribe, a renowned professor at Harvard Law School, has been a strong critic of Donald Trump, and has advocated his impeachment, and is publishing a new book on that topic, out in May, but already number one on the Amazon list of best selling books. Tribe has been a credit to his profession and to the law school community for decades, and is not selling his soul to the Right Wing which has no problem with the disgraceful Presidency of Donald Trump.

diGenova has long been seen as an attorney who relies on conspiracy theories and undermining of respect for the law, so it is not surprising that he has now joined the Trump legal team, out to destroy the FBI and the intelligence community, and overlook the facts on the case against Trump.

And Olson is a well respected attorney, who defended George W. Bush in the 2000 Presidential election controversy; then lost his wife Barbara in the plane that crashed into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001; followed by joining fellow attorney David Boies, his rival in the 2000 election controversy in fighting the case for gay marriage in court, leading to the Supreme Court decisoin in 2015. Olson has rejected the idea of joining the Trump defense team, and adds to his stature by doing so.

This is a time for patriotism and justice over sycophancy and demagoguery, so Tribe and Olson are to be commended, while Dershowitz, Turley, and diGenova are to be condemned!